Bird watching for Beginners

Bird watching is a great way to incorporate the joys and wonders of nature with some outdoor exercise that your whole family can enjoy.

Obviously, your trip to Jellystone Park™ is a perfect time to put into practice what you have learned, but the best place to start bird watching is in your own backyard. You, with your children, can attract any number of wild birds by building or buying a feeder to hang from a tree. This will enable you to watch the birds and make notes about their appearance while they feed. Early morning or late afternoon is typically the best time of day for bird watching.

Pick up a bird identification guide from your local library or bookstore. By looking at the colors, size, shape and noises the bird makes – you can determine what type of bird it is. Ask your children if they know their state bird, then learn about it together. Why was it chosen to represent the state? What color is it? Does it migrate for the winter? Then find a picture of the bird and look for it on your next adventure.

When you are camping , it may be more difficult initially to study birds without the advantage of a feeder to lure them. And since will be looking for them in their natural habitat, walking around in the undergrowth may disturb them, so tell your children to be quiet and observant. You may also consider bringing binoculars so you can get a closer look.

This is when acquiring a bird watching journal is a great idea. Soon you will discover that you are taking detailed notes of what you see. Also encourage your kids to note aspects of the birds’ behaviors. Are they singing? Perching? Walking? Swimming? Making nests? You can also note the date and time, together with any observations about the weather and the number of birds you saw. Any distinctive call or sound is always interesting, as is any comment about the habitat and gender of the bird. Lastly, if you are able to sketch what you have seen, it makes a lasting reminder. You could, of course, take a picture, but remember that most cameras or phones still make a noise.

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